Palm Beach Symphony Supports Music Education In Schools

A string quartet of musicians from the Palm Beach Symphony connects with students at Wellington Elementary School during a virtual in-school concert. Photo courtesy IndieHouse Films

During the 2020-21 school year, the Palm Beach Symphony delivered nearly 400 musician hours of classroom instruction and performances in education programs that impacted more than 6,900 students, including students at Wellington Elementary School.

“Music programs were more important than ever during this school year, in which students were coping with the challenges of virtual and hybrid lessons,” Palm Beach Symphony Director of Education and Orchestra Operations Olga M. Vazquez said. “The School District of Palm Beach County was a wonderfully supportive partner as we created new avenues to provide music instruction and virtual programming to students and offer them a creative outlet.”

The symphony recently completed a residency at Bear Lakes Middle School in West Palm Beach, as one of two residencies offered this year at Title I schools. Through a hybrid model of in-person and at-home virtual learning, the symphony provided coaching sessions for seven different instruments: flute, clarinet, saxophone, French horn, trumpet, low brass and percussion. In addition to music instruction, musicians also shared their experiences and served as positive role models.

The symphony also donated instruments to the school from among the more than 65 instruments it donated this school year, which would have cost more than $96,000 if purchased by the students or music programs. The symphony accepts donations of professional or amateur quality band and orchestral instruments.

The symphony’s production of “One Small Step,” which incorporates science concepts as it takes students on Apollo 11’s trip to the moon, was seen as a virtual field trip by nearly 4,900 students. Hundreds participated in virtual workshops that extended the concert experience by engaging students in learning about conceptual ideas across art forms such as beat, movement, gravity, rotation, revolution and orbit.

This school year, the symphony presented virtual in-school concerts to more than 1,600 students in unique lecture demonstrations that provide mentorship, guidance and inspiration, while also helping to develop and foster collaboration, communication and creativity to better their understanding of their role in a culturally diverse global society.  

The symphony also served as a resource for secondary music teachers. Prior to the school year, educators had access to four 20-minute professional development videos for strings, percussion, brass, woodwinds on the topic of instrumental music and blended learning. The symphony also produced two one-hour professional development videos for clarinet and flute.

Free music education resources for students of all ages are available on the symphony’s web site, including instructional videos, music activities and lesson plans compiled by the symphony’s education team. Learn more at www.palmbeachsymphony.org.

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